Sticking to a hardline approach that might hinder the success of the relay teams at CARIFTA, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) ratified just qualifiers yesterday, settling on a 50-member squad for the rapidly approaching junior regional meet.
As verified during a celebratory gospel concert at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium on Sunday, The Bahamas will be represented by 50 athletes at the 48th CARIFTA Games which is set for the Easter holiday weekend, April 20-22, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
A total of 18 athletes joined the 47 who had previously qualified, at the CARIFTA Trials this past weekend, for 65 qualifiers in total for the CARIFTA Games, and some of them qualified in more than one event. With the exception of the events where there were more than two qualifiers, all of the athletes who achieved the respective standards were named to the team. BAAA President Drumeco Archer said the 50-plus qualifiers results in a very strong team going into Cayman.
Named to the under-17 girls division are: Anthaya Charlton (100m/long jump), Collinique Farrington (200/400m), Javonya Valcourt (400m), Breyanna Kemp (800m), Rowlia Joseph (800m), Akaya Lightbourne (1500m), Jodie Ritchie (1500m), Rashae Dean (400m hurdles), Shaunece Miller (high jump), Kenya Forbes (high jump) and Anne Marie Orakahi (shot put). The under-17 boys are: Davon Johnson (100m), Omar Kelly (800m), Tergenus Lovenski (800m), Denzel Sawyer (1500m), Mitchell Curtis (1500m/3000m), Otto Laing (110m hurdles), Wendall Miller (400m hurdles), Mateo Smith (long jump), Stephen Farquharson (high jump) and Keyshawn Strachan (javelin/discus).
The under-20 girls on the team are: Jaida Knowles (100m), Kayvon Stubbs (200m), Megan Moss (400m), Jasmine Knowles (800/4x400m relay), Marissa White (4x400m relay), Gabrielle Gibson (100m hurdles), Vinajah Adderley (triple jump), Rhema Otabor (javelin), Latia Saunders (javelin), Kasha Neely (heptathlon) and Hiltranique Pinder (heptathlon).
Making the CARIFTA squad in the under-20 boys division are: Adrian Curry (100/4x100m), Rico Moultrie (100/4x100m), Joel Johnson (4x100m), Ure Mills (4x100m), Terrance Jones (200/400m), Marckenson Joseph (400m), Justin Bridgewater (800m), Gabriel Curtis (1500/5000m), Oscar Smith (110m hurdles), Matthew Thompson (400m hurdles), Denvaughn Whymns (110m hurdles/long jump), Shaun Miller (high jump), Travis Joseph (high jump), Michaelangelo Bullard (javelin), Sean Rolle (javelin), Vano Rahming (pole vault), Edvaughn Carey (octathlon) and Patrick Johnson (octathlon).
The Head Coach of the team is Alverston “Ali” Rolle out of Grand Bahama, and he will be assisted by Corrington Maycock, Clinton Smikle, Nekeno Demeritte, Allen Mortimer, Randy Moss and Myriam Stapleton. Dr. Nadia Gilbert will serve as the team doctor, Dr. Kelly Kramp is the physiotherapist, Doris Ramsey is the team manager, and she will be assisted by Sophia Higgs out of Grand Bahama. The chaperone of the team is Sonia Black. The three team delegates for The Bahamas are BAAA President Archer, BAAA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maybeline Miller and Laketah Charlton.
Archer said that the team is a diverse one, featuring a number of newcomers and a few experienced athletes. He’s optimistic of the team’s ability to go into the Cayman Islands, compete with the best young athletes in the region, and turn in some fantastic performances.
“You would see that the amount of qualifiers have doubled from recent times. Whatever standards you put out there, our athletes are capable of achieving those standards,” said Archer. “I am very pleased with the team that was selected. In my view, this is one of the strongest teams that we have put together in a very long time. I’m very optimistic about what this particular team will do in the Cayman Islands.”
Regarding the strategic move to alter the qualifying standards in some of the sprints, hurdles and jumps at the “11th hour”, Archer said that it was necessary given the circumstances.
“We wanted to give the coaches autonomy over the process. A meeting was called, and many of the coaches didn’t respond to the call for a meeting, so the board had to make a decision in protection of the interest of all athletes. So, whether it was early or late, the decision doesn’t necessarily change. At the end of the day, it was a positive decision that was taken and nothing to disenfranchise any athlete,” he said.
The initial standards were based on results from the 2012, 2013 and 2018 CARIFTA Games in both the under-17 and under-20 age categories. However, it was determined that a few of those standards that were established by the Bahamas Track and Field Coaches Association, were based on events with severe wind-aided readings. Therefore, the executive board decided to independently review, and consequently, adjust those standards that were based on severe wind-aided readings.
The standard in the under-17 girls 100 meters (m) was adjusted to 11.95 seconds, down from the previous standard of 11.96 seconds; the standard in the under-17 boys 100m was amended to 10.98 seconds, up from the previous standard of 10.93 seconds; the standard for the under-20 girls 100m was brought down to 11.60 seconds from the previous standard of 11.69 seconds; the standard in the under-20 boys 100m was raised to 10.54 seconds, up from the previous standard of 10.47 seconds; the standard in the under-17 boys 200m was brought up to 21.98 seconds, up from the previous standard of 21.90 seconds; the standard in the under-20 girls 200m was carried up to 24.15 seconds, up from the previous standard of 24.02 seconds; the standard in the under-20 boys 200m was raised to 21.27 seconds, up from the previous standard of 21.08 seconds; the standard in the under-20 boys 110m hurdles was carried up to 13.91 seconds, up from the previous mark of 13.73 seconds; the standard in the under-17 girls long jump was amended to 5.60m (18’ 4-1/2”), down from the previous standard of 5.64m (18’ 6-1/4”); the standard in the under-17 girls triple jump was adjusted to 11.64m (38’ 2-1/4”), down from the previous standard of 11.68m (38’ 4”); and finally, the standard in the under-17 boys long jump was amended up to 6.65m (21’ 10”), down from the previous standard of 6.71m (22’ 0-1/4”).
The standards in the other sprint events, hurdles and jumps were unaffected by abnormal wind.
In a statement, CEO Miller said: “It is most unfortunate to now have to make these changes; however, it is more important to the board to ensure that the interest of all athletes are protected even in the face of coaches and administrators committing these errors. We hope that this settles all of the concerns relating to standards.”
Archer added: “Initially, we took the standards to be that they were all based on wind-legal performances. Just recently, coaches began to say that some of those standards were based on wind-aided performances. That led to the executive reviewing the calculations of those performances, and we came to a different result. In this re-calculation, no athlete would have been affected negatively.”
Based on the adjusted results, four more athletes qualified, but one had previously done so in another event. The top three finishers in the under-20 boys 100m all qualified. Adrian Curry would have done so in any event, as he went under the former standard as well, running a season’s best time of 10.44 seconds. Rico Moultrie was second in 10.51 seconds, and last year’s CARIFTA Champion Joel Johnson finished third in 10.52 seconds. Ure Mills was fourth in that heated under-20 boys 100m final in 10.60 seconds. They all ran into negative wind (-0.8 meters per second-mps), and the adjusted qualifying standard was 10.54 seconds.
“In the history of The Bahamas I don’t ever remember us having four junior athletes running 10.6 seconds or lower. That is amazing and sets us up for a very good result in the sprint relay,” said Archer.
In the under-20 boys 200m, Terrance Jones won in 21.05 seconds after running a blazing 20.77 seconds in the heats. He had previously qualified in the 400m. Moultrie was second in the 200m in 21.43 seconds, and Curry was third in 21.46 seconds. The qualifying time for CARIFTA was 21.27 seconds.
In the 110m hurdles, Oscar Smith dipped below the adjusted qualifying standard twice, running 13.71 seconds in the heats and 13.84 seconds in the final. Denvaughn Whymns ran 13.73 seconds in the heats, but was a no-show for the final. Jahmaal Wilson was second in the final in 13.99 seconds, and Perez Hemmings finished a distant third in 15.18 seconds. The qualifying time for CARIFTA was 13.91 seconds.
In the under-20 boys 400m, Jones ran a blazing personal best time of 47.58 seconds. Marckenson Joseph ran 47.67 seconds in the heats, and was second in the final in 48.03 seconds. Tre Buchannan finished third in the final in 48.27 seconds, and coming back from injury, Raymond Oriakhi made it four guys under 49 seconds, running 48.53 seconds for fourth in the final. The qualifying time for CARIFTA was 48.02 seconds. Failing to qualify, despite running fast times, were Buchannan and Oriakhi, meaning they were unfortunately left off the team heading to Cayman, even for relay purposes.
“The Bahamas is strong enough to place second or third in any one of those relays with the team that we currently have, so I see no negative impact,” said Archer. “We decided to stop that idea that if you don’t qualify, you have a bye of getting on the team on a relay. We want to discourage that going forward.”
Breyanna Kemp and Rowlia Joseph added their names to the list of qualifiers this past weekend, finishing first and second in the under-17 girls 800m. Kemp won in 2:25.04, Joseph was a close second in 2:25.28, and Frideline Sara Augustin was just off the qualifying standard, running 2:25.81 for third. The qualifying standard was 2:25.30.
Davon Johnson matched the qualifying standard in the under-17 boys 100m, running 10.98 seconds in the heats of that event at the trials. He won the gold medal in the final in 11.12 seconds. Joshua Miller was second in 11.19 seconds, and Deangelo McKie finished third in 11.22 seconds.
There were three qualifiers in the under-17 boys 1500m, all going under the qualifying time of 4:35.61. Mitchell Curtis won in 4:21.60, Omar Kelly Jr. was second in 4:27.88, and Denzel Sawyer finished third in 4:31.15.
There a couple of new qualifiers in both the open girls heptathlon and the open boys octathlon. Kasha Neely won the heptathlon with 3,624points. Hiltranique Pinder finished second with 3,604 points, and Mykayla White was a distant third with 3,009 points. Both Neely and Pinder qualified.
Edvaughn Carey won the boys octathlon with 5,076 points. Patrick Johnson finished second with 5,007 points, and Nastario Williams was third with 4,895 points. Carey and Johnson qualified.
In the end, the 50 members named to the team were glorified through a gospel extravaganza at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium on Sunday. The two-day trials were held on Friday and Saturday at the new stadium.